Spike TV on Monday confirmed that the network will head across the pond to broadcast UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz from the LG Arena in Birmingham, England. The Nov. 5 event will air on Spike TV on a same day tape delay from 8-11 p.m. ET/PT.
The UFC 138 main event is a five-round, middleweight non-title bout featuring Chris Leben and Mark Munoz. The bout is the first under the UFC’s new policy of making all main event bouts five rounds, even if there is no championship on the line.
Leben (26-7) is coming off of the biggest victory of his career. He defeated his “personal hero,” Wanderlei Silva, via a 27-second knockout on July 2 at UFC 132. That followed a disappointing loss to Brian Stann, and upped his recent record to 4-1 over his past five fights.
“I’m really looking forward to this fight against Munoz and fighting in England again. They have some great fans there and the noise they make is loud,” said Leben. “It is cool to make a little piece of history fighting in the first ever non-title five round fight, but I guarantee I won’t even need three rounds in this fight.”
Munoz (11-2), fighting under the Zuffa umbrella for the past three years, has made his name as one of the top rising middleweights in the promotion. He is 8-2 in his 10 fights combined for the WEC and UFC. His recent three-fight streak was capped recently by a dominant performance against fellow Top 10 middleweight Demian Maia.
The winner of this bout greatly increases his title contention stock.
“(Chris Leben) is a gritty fighter and I’m looking forward to this fight. I think it will go five rounds and I’ll control the entire fight. We’re both resilient, so I think we’re going to throw bombs for five rounds,” Munoz assessed. “We’re making history so it’s a good trivia question and I’ll always know the answer to it. With a win over Chris I’m definitely going to be knocking at the door of title contention.”
UFC 138 may serve as Spike’s final overseas presentation of a UFC event. The two companies have been partners for years, but with Spike’s contract with the MMA juggernaut set to expire after this year, the negotiations don’t appear to be headed toward a resolution.
While UFC president Dana White has consistently held that his company continues to talk with everybody, including Spike, most industry insiders say that Spike is preparing for an inevitable separation from the UFC.
Spike TV broadcast the promotion’s last trip to Birmingham as well, with UFC 89 in October 2008. Chris Leben fought in the main event there in a bout against Michael Bisping. UFC 89 drew an average audience of 2.6 million viewers to the network.